Travel and Language

One of the most fascinating things I consider in this world is language. Even if you are one of those who speaks different tongues, at one point there will be someone who won’t get you or you don’t get them. It is inevitable. We mean the same thing, feel the same thing, but the world has got to say it in different ways. So what if we’re stuck somewhere and we find ourselves saying “hello” differently from the locals? Do we runaway from these places? Absolutely not!

The world has got so many wonders that you probably haven’t seen before. And chances are the nicest ones are far from your continent and they have their own language. It’s not something to be scared of (even if you’re traveling alone), but may need some extra preparation. I remember being in a big food court having some noodles and good cold juice and hearing everybody talking but not understanding any of them – looks like home but sounds otherwise.  I found myself extra excited to the first person in a familiar speech and chat with them for hours after a few days of not being able to talk to someone.

For some the remedy to this language situation is to enroll in a language class. This is good but requires time, cash and a lot of dedication. I didn’t have the convenience to do this though when I went to Taiwan earlier this year but good thing I was able to find a great tip.  If you have the knack for preparing ahead, make sure to include translations of the names of places you’re visiting and directions. Note these translations in a pocket sized paper so you can easily show them around when needed. You can try to pronounce them yourself but sometimes it’s no good so just show them your note. Do include also some basic words (eg. restroom, bus stop, drinking water, bank, etc) so that when you’re out needing them you won’t be awfully confused. There maybe some cool translator apps already so make sure to check those too.

So there you go.. let’s hit the other side of the sea now and explore! 🙂


4 thoughts on “Travel and Language

  1. Very nice article Jimmy. I always imagine China being tough on foreign language but it’s definitely one of the places I look forward to visiting someday, so I better learn Mandarin..

  2. Thanks, I appreciate it. You can pick up some of the very basics of Mandarin pretty easily – numbers, introductory phrases, etc. But becoming conversational takes a lot of practice.

  3. Pingback: How to battle solo travel nerves and start making friends | Why Stopover?

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